A legislative panel voted Wednesday to bar doctors from prescribing birth control pills, drugs that treat sexually transmitted diseases or any other prescription to minors without parental consent.
The 6-3 vote by the House Health Committee came over objections by some who said such a blanket proposal would create health and pregnancy risks for some teens.
Patti Jo Angelini, director of the Arizona Coalition on Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting, said teens will continue to have sex, with or without birth control. Figures from a state Department of Education survey last year showed that 28 percent of ninth-graders — and 62 percent of high school seniors — have had sex.
And Charlotte Harrison, executive director of the Arizona Family Planning Council, said the measure could result in some teens not being treated for sexually transmitted diseases.
But House Majority Leader Steve Tully, a father of four girls, said the current system essentially allows a doctor who may have seen a child for only a short time to make important medical decisions.
“I’m in a better position than a doctor to weigh what is best for my daughters,” said the Phoenix Republican.
Tully said the issue was brought to him by a constituent, a single father who learned his daughter was using birth control pills. “He didn’t understand how someone could give his daughter prescription medications without his knowing this is going on,” Tully said.
Rep. Laura Knaperek, RTempe, said she is disturbed when a pediatrician takes a minor into another room to ask questions. “That sends the message to the child that they don’t need to speak to the parent,” she said.
The measure now goes to the full House.